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Best Trading Platform Canada – Features & Fees Breakdown

Best Stock Trading Platforms BadgeWe tested 17 of the best Canadian stock trading platforms, narrowing down the 5 most profitable ones while avoiding the high fees and un-intuitive interface found in local TD and RBC brokerage accounts. Online brokers are faster, cheaper, more secure, and have a user friendly UX. I'll break down the top platforms  and select our winner of the Best Trading Apps Canada award.

While this blog is about how to build online businesses, a lot of research has been done about investing tools (learn more on my small business tools page).

⚠️ Please note - I am not a licensed financial advisor. I'm not making financial recommendations or endorsing these companies. This objective review is to highlight the fees and services for each platform. Remember, online trading has risks and you could lose your money. ⚠️

Summary 📝 - Best Stock Trading Platform Canada

Online BrokerBest ForMobile AppIntl. TradingBrokerage CostsOur Bottom Line
QuestradeBest OverallYesYes$0.01 per share for stock (minimum of $4.95 to max. $9.95). Mutual funds are $9.95 per trade.NoneAbsence of fees and low commissions enables your money to work harder for you
Interactive BrokersBest International Online BrokerYesYesFor stocks and EFT, $0.005 per share with $1 minimum and maximum 0.5% of trade value; volume discount availableNoneGreat choice for active traders due to a large selection of tradable securities and per-share pricing.
CIBC Investor’s EdgeBest Transparent FeesYesNo$6.95, $5.95 (student), $4.95 (active trader)YesOnly available to Canadian residents, but student friendly with ability to integrate banking and brokerage services
TD Direct Investing Best Diverse Trading ToolsYesMainly limited to North America$9.99Maintenance fee of $25 per quarter if account is less than $15,000It provides strong market information, but with a $7 commission, it is too expensive for active traders
Qtrade Direct InvestingBest For ResearchYesYes$8.75$25 / quarter - Waived if you hold $25k; if you make a minimum number of commissionable trades; if you establish a recurring electronic funds contribution of $100/month or more; or if you qualify for their Young Investor offer.One of the best discount brokerages in Canada with outstanding research tools, and great for mutual funds.

1. Questrade — Best Overall

  • Standard Equity Commission: Min $4.95 to max $9.95
  • Best Commission Price: $0.01 per share (Max:$4.95).
  • Annual Fee: None
  • Minimum to Open Account: $1,000
  • Commission Free ETFs: No
  • Maintenance/Inactivity Fees: $24.95 charged per quarter when the account balance falls below $5,000 and at least one trade is not placed.
  • Mobile & Web Trading Apps
  • Reliable Customer Support
  • ECN Fees
  • Quarterly inactivity fees

Quick Info Snapshot 📷

Canadians regard this online broker, founded in 1999, as the best for trading in the Canadian stock market and the US.

Questrade low-cost trading is a refreshing change for Canadians. With no annual fees, no matter the account size, Questrade lets you build an ETF-based portfolio for $0. Their seamless client experience provides a barebones fee structure coupled with an excellent trading platform and assistive tools.

As Canada’s largest independent online brokerage, it currently has over $9 billion in assets, offering Canadians a nice alternative to trading and investing with only the big banks. Questrade is undoubtedly the best stock trading platform in Canada.

Other Features of Questrade:

  • Diversified portfolio opportunities, such as forex, stocks, bonds, IPOs, international equities, CFDs, ETFs, mutual funds, and more
  • Lower overall fees, including no-fee ETF trades and no opening and closing fees
  • No commission purchases
  • Market data packages, real-time data streaming, and intuitive mobile app
  • Options for regional and international transactions
  • Multiple data plans, such as Basic (free with all accounts and gives real-time market data), Enhanced, and Advanced, which give you additional features for a price
  • Can choose between Self-Directed Investing or Questwealth Portfolios, which gives you options between a do it yourself account or a pre-built portfolio with more influence from financial experts, great for beginners
  • Versatile account types, including LIRA, TFSA, LIF, RRSP, etc.

Check out our in-depth Questrade review.

2. Interactive Brokers  — Best International Online Broker

  • Best Commission Price: $1
  • Annual Fee: None
  • Minimum to Open Account: $10,000
  • Maintenance/Inactivity Fees: $10/month – 20/month.
  • Commission Free ETFs: Yes (Global X ETFs only)
  • Standard Equity Commission: 0.5% of trade value, $0.005/trade $1.00 minimum.
  • Low trading fees
  • Many great research tools
  • Some of the industry’s lowest margin rates
  • Can trade in 120 markets, 31 countries, and 23 currencies
  • High inactivity fee
  • Not beginner friendly, little platform support
  • Account minimums can lead to penalties if not adhered to
  • Less able to manage currency conversions and local tax laws and regulations than domestic brokers

Quick Info Snapshot 📷

Although Interactive Brokers (IB) is a US based-trading suite, it comes with features that Canadians love, such as complete access to major global markets. It has also been rated as a Top Online Broker for nine consecutive years by Barron’s.

The Canadian arm of this brokerage firm is Interactive Brokers Canada. Unlike other Canadian discount brokerage firms, IB is not owned by a bank. With its high volume of daily average revenue trades, it’s also the largest US electronic brokerage firm.

Its ethos is inclined towards active traders rather than long-term investors, and their pricing structure keeps trading costs in check. With the breadth of products and variety of investment types, if you’re an experienced trader looking for low commissions, Interactive Brokers is a great option.

Other Features of Interactive Brokers:

  • Products include traditional services along with robo-advisors and wealth management
  • Real time alerts and monitoring
  • Features such as a client-only forum, Market Overview tool, and portfolio analysis
  • Numerous awards from multiple financial organizations

See related: Best Tax Software in Canada

3. CIBC Investor’s Edge — Best Transparent Fees

  • Standard Equity Commission: $6.95.
  • Best Commission Price: $4.95.
  • Annual Fee: None
  • Minimum to Open Account: None required
  • Commission Free ETFs: No
  • Maintenance/Inactivity Fees: $100 unless a minimum balance of $10,000 is maintained or if the account holder maintains at least one registered account.
  • Great Way to Build Credit
  • Secure
  • Student Friendly Commission Rates
  • Not Worth to Borrow
  • Eliminated the Registered Education Savings Plan that many parents relied on to fund post-secondary education

Quick Info Snapshot 📷

The advantage of a bank-owned brokerage is evident with CIBC Investor’s Edge. It gives clients the freedom to manage products from its banking arm, making it one of the best Canadian brokerages.

Operated by CIBC Investor Services Inc., (a subsidiary of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce), Investor's Edge is an online discount brokerage designed for do-it-yourself investors. It gives Canadians access to both U.S. and Canadian stock and options markets, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), guaranteed investment certificates (GICs), bonds and mutual funds at low commission rates. There are no account-opening fees and no minimum account size.

It provides flexibility when switching from a previous broker, refunding up to $135 in imposed transfer-out fees for assets valued at $25,000 or more. However, they penalize you for trying to leave, with a $135 transfer-out fee to move to another brokerage firm.

Other Features of CIBC:

  • Investor education and content
  • Traders can integrate their CIBC banking accounts with their brokerage account
  • Desktop, web, and simple mobile trading platforms like the Mobile Wealth App
  • Low cost trade rates and flat commission fee
  • Waived fees for registered education savings plans

4. TD Direct Investing — Best Diverse Trading Tools

  • Standard Equity Commission: $9.99
  • Best Commission Price: $7
  • Annual Fee: None
  • Minimum to Open Account: None required
  • Maintenance/Inactivity Fees: $25/quarter.
  • Commission Free ETFs: No
  • Regulated
  • More Advanced Research Tools
  • Expensive

Quick Info Snapshot 📷

This is the one of the most expensive brokers, but it does have an impressive array of trading tools and research, courtesy of its WebBroker and Advanced Dashboard platforms.

Other Features of TD Direct Investing:

  • Part of Ameritrade (a U.S. investment services provider)
  • Bank-owned so you can manage multiple accounts online
  • Cutting-edge charting and trading tools
  • Full-service mobile app
  • Continuous news streams
  • Numerous customer service outlets, including in-person appointments for Canadians through their local branch

5. Qtrade Direct Investing — Best For Research

  • Standard Equity Commission: $8.75
  • Best Commission Price: $6.95
  • Annual Fee: None
  • Minimum to Open Account: None required
  • Maintenance/Inactivity Fees: $25/quarter **
  • Commission Free ETFs: Yes
  • Low stock and ETF fees
  • No mutual fund fees
  • High options fees
  • No debit/credit card or electronic wallet integration

**Maintenance/Inactivity Fee can be waived if you hold $25,000; if you make a minimum number of commissionable trades; if you establish a recurring electronic funds contribution of $100 a month or more; or if you qualify for their Young Investor offer.

Quick Info Snapshot 📷

Qtrade Direct Investing is a wholly Canadian online brokerage with award-winning technology and dynamic research tools.

Its reputation for safety is well-earned. It has a long track record (founded in 2000), of high-level of investor protection and is regulated by a top-tier regulator (the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC)).

Qtrade boasts above-average education tools, a robust stock research center, and portfolio analysis tools.

Other Features of Qtrade:

  • In-depth technical research and real-time streaming quotes
  • Portfolio score cards
  • Retirement planning help
  • Goal Planning tool
  • Advanced mutual funds research
  • Can provide traders with a watch list for potential investments and alerts for important changes
  • Great for mutual fund purchases

Online brokerage services are offered through Qtrade Direct Investing, a division of Credential Qtrade Securities Inc. Qtrade, Qtrade Direct Investing, and Write Your Own Future are trade names and/or trademarks of Aviso Wealth.

    Canadian Stock Platform Guide

    Chart Graphic

    The rapid rise of Canadian online trading platforms makes it easy to buy shares. However, without a guide, you can’t know which broker features fit your trading needs. Online trading is both high-risk and high-reward, so picking the right broker is crucial. Here are some factors to look for:

    Security Features and Regulations

    They should have strong cyber security features and financial protections in place. You can never be too careful with your money. Be sure they are legally registered in your area.

    Available Investment Products📊

    Confirm the available investment opportunities are compatible with your goals.

    Costs and Fees to Manage your Accountmoney-icon

    Look for hidden gotchas, unexpected fees, and overall costs to maintain your account. Some platforms may offer discounts too.

    The Minimum Requirement for Investmentbudget icon

    This amount will differ depending on the platform. Be sure that the requirements align with your financial position.

    Available Featuresinterest-rate-range-accrual-structured-investment

    Platforms will have an array of tools to help you analyze data and make informed investment choices. How advanced these capabilities are will vary, so find one that suits you.

    Broad Range of Tradable Assets broker icon

    Depending on the platform, you could have limited or broad trading availability. Factor in things like multiple asset classes and how many financial markets they give you admittance to.

    Beginner Friendlyaccount rounded icon

    When dealing with investing, don’t jump in blindly. Be sure that your platform has resources and guidance for beginners so you don’t make costly mistakes.

    Commission Fees earn money icon

    Compare commission fees, especially if you’re trading frequently and in large volumes.

    Good Customer Reviewstesting icon

    The most honest reviews will come from other customers. Research and see what common complaints people have, or what features they all seem to gravitate to.

    Banking Integration online trading icon

    Is the trading platform integrated with banking services? Some allow you to transfer money from trading accounts to other banking accounts, including savings.

    Trading Differences Between Canada and the United Statescropped favicon

    Due to proximity, relaxed trade barriers, and close cultural/political ties, trading stocks online in Canada is similar to trading in the U.S. However, there are Canadian trading considerations to note:

    Order Types and Operations🔧

    Various order types are standard across the industry, like market orders, limit hours, and stop orders. However, trading stocks varies between Canada and the U.S. Other possible variations are advanced order types, such as conditional orders, and flexibility with after-hours trading.

    Mobile Appsmobile icon

    Mobile app adoption dominates the US market. In Canada, however, not every broker has a mobile app, or the same features.

    Banking services📈

    In the U.S., banks offering online trading services tend to provide a seamless experience with a consistent bank/brokerage interface. This simplifies tasks, like moving money between accounts. US residents have come to expect this integration. momentum.